Your sales team is skilled at nurturing leads and closing them — that’s what salespeople do. They know how to read people, how to dig into challenges, how to uncover deeper needs, how to present solutions, and how to motivate prospects to take action. These are valuable skills.
But salespeople may not be so good at digging up qualified leads to send through their sales processes. And even if they are able to generate leads, salespeople should be spending their time nurturing prospects and closing deals. In this post, we’ll look at how content marketing can help you find more high-quality leads so your sales team can do what they do best.
First, What is Content Marketing?
Marketing is notorious for its jargon. Content marketing, inbound marketing, digital marketing, conversational marketing, integrated marketing. . . . What are we talking about when we say “content marketing”?
Content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing focuses on marketing methods that invite prospects to reach out to learn more — instead of interrupting prospects with marketing messages when they aren’t looking for them. Inbound marketing may include a variety of tactics, including SEO, digital ads that promote inspirational or educational content, and freemium products that are designed to convert non-paying customers into paying ones. Content marketing is a fundamental element of inbound that involves creating and sharing content that will attract prospects and draw them into your marketing system to be nurtured.
1. Content Marketing Outperforms Other Types of Marketing
According to the latest research, inbound marketing generates 54% more leads than traditional outbound methods alone, and content plays a key part. No one likes being blasted with marketing messages, being forced to watch ads, or getting unsolicited email. Tactics that involve interruption are effective only with the most desperate prospects. All the others, who are in the research phase of their buying process, will be annoyed and less likely to engage with the offending company when they’re ready to buy.
Content marketing, on the other hand, aims to provide useful, educational, or inspirational articles, eBooks, how-to guides, downloadable checklists, videos, podcasts, and other content that meet prospects where they are and offer real value. Content marketing works because those prospects are happy to be nurtured with more content that they find helpful, and they’re likely to buy from the company that has thus far earned their trust and proven value.
2. Content Marketing Attracts Prospects in All Stages of the Buying Process
Content marketing gives you the opportunity to capture prospects wherever they are in their buying journey. Are they just starting out, researching their problem? Share a blog post that digs into all the benefits of solving the problem. Are they further along, trying to identify all the possible solutions? Share an eGuide that lists the pros and cons of each solution type. Are they nearing the end of their research, having decided on a solution type and now trying to find a service provider or vendor? Offer case studies that tell the story of how you’ve helped other clients achieve success.
The benefit of capturing prospects in a variety of buying stages is that it builds your pipeline. You’re not limited to converting the hot leads. Almost-ready leads are flowing through your marketing system, getting hotter as they go along.
3. Content Marketing Nurtures Not-Yet-Ready Leads Until They’re Hot
Your sales team doesn’t have the time to nurture leads who are just beginning their buying journey. They need to be spending their time on the warm and hot leads who are ready to make a decision. Those prospects who have just begun their research don’t want to be contacted by a salesperson anyway. They’re not ready.
Content marketing does a fantastic job at automatically nurturing not-yet-ready leads. Once a prospect downloads an eGuide, signs up for a free course, or otherwise engages with your company by requesting content, you can send additional relevant content. This content will drip out to the not-yet-ready prospects as they go through their research process, providing value and reminding them that your company is a pro at solving the very problem they are dealing with.
If you’re targeting your prospects correctly and sending content that they will welcome, your nurturing emails will heat up these prospects until they’re ready to be contacted by someone on your sales team.
4. Content Marketing Offers Significant ROI
Compared to the cost of buying leads, running media campaigns, hiring a PR firm, or other traditional methods, content marketing delivers exceptional ROI. There are a few reasons why:
- You’re able to narrowly target prospects with content that speaks directly to them, attracting those who have the potential to convert. You don’t have to waste money attracting leads that aren’t interested in what you have to offer.
- Because these prospects are opting in to receive information from you, they’re not going to be turned off when they receive your communications. Instead, they’ll welcome your emails (assuming you’re sending relevant content).
- Much of the process is automated. Your sales team doesn’t have to waste time following up with leads who aren’t ready yet — the marketing system does it for you.
Content marketing is so powerful that 89% of the most successful organizations say that they are “extremely” or “very” committed to it. If your company is having trouble generating enough quality leads to keep your sales team busy, content marketing could be the answer.
Wondering how your business can take advantage of content marketing? We’re happy to jump on the phone and brainstorm some ideas. Schedule a time to chat here.